Mike Pompeo Says Journalist Khashoggi’s Death Still Being Probed: Report


Pompeo called Khashoggi’s murder “a tragic incident” and “not something that America approves of”

WASHINGTON: 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said investigations into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were still ongoing but that the United States would hold those found responsible accountable for his death.

Pompeo’s comments to Fox News echoed U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on the killing even as the CIA has assessed with medium to high confidence that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s death.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, provoking an political crisis in Saudi Arabia and tearing relations with the United States and other Western allies.

Pompeo called Khashoggi’s murder “a tragic incident” and “not something that America approves of,” and pointed to sanctions that the United States has imposed on 17 Saudis that is has said were responsible.

Pompeo and Trump have called Saudi an important partner in the fight against Iran, and Pompeo is scheduled to attend a United Nations meeting to discuss Iran later on Wednesday.

Nikki Haley, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also noted the U.S.-Saudi partnership but also called on the administration to figure out a path forward.

“We need to have a serious, hard talk with the Saudis to let them know we won’t condone this, we won’t give you a pass and don’t do this again. And then I think that the administration has to talk about where we go from here,” she told NBC News in a separate interview that aired on Wednesday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Supreme court asked Surveillance team about searing Gujarat encounter final Report


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Massive Marriott Data Breach Traced To Chinese Hackers: Report


Marriott said that a hack that began 4 years ago had exposed the records of up to 500 million customers.

Hackers behind a massive breach at hotel group Marriott International Inc left clues suggesting they were working for a Chinese government intelligence gathering operation, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Marriott said last week that a hack that began four years ago had exposed the records of up to 500 million customers in its Starwood hotels reservation system.

Private investigators looking into the breach have found hacking tools, techniques and procedures previously used in attacks attributed to Chinese hackers, said three sources who were not authorized to discuss the company’s private probe into the attack.

That suggests that Chinese hackers may have been behind a campaign designed to collect information for use in Beijing’s espionage efforts and not for financial gain, two of the sources said.

While China has emerged as the lead suspect in the case, the sources cautioned it was possible somebody else was behind the hack because other parties had access to the same hacking tools, some of which have previously been posted online.

Identifying the culprit is further complicated by the fact that investigators suspect multiple hacking groups may have simultaneously been inside Starwood’s computer networks since 2014, said one of the sources.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined to comment directly on the issue, but said China strongly opposed any form of hacking.

“If the relevant side has any evidence, they can provide it to the Chinese side, and relevant authorities will investigate in accordance with the law,” he told a daily news briefing.

“But we resolutely oppose gratuitous accusations when it comes to internet security,” he added.

If investigators confirm that China was behind the attack, that could complicate already tense relations between Washington and Beijing, amid an ongoing tariff dispute and U.S. accusations of Chinese espionage and the theft of trade secrets.

Marriott spokeswoman Connie Kim declined to comment, saying “We’ve got nothing to share,” when asked about involvement of Chinese hackers.

Marriott disclosed the hack on Friday, prompting U.S. and UK regulators to quickly launch probes into the case.

Compromised customer data included names, passport numbers, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and email addresses. A small percentage of accounts included scrambled payment card data, said Kim.

Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016 for $13.6 billion, including the Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Aloft, Le Meridien, Tribute, Four Points and Luxury Collection hotel brands, forming the world’s largest hotel operator.

The hack began in 2014, shortly after an attack on the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) compromised sensitive data on tens of millions of employees, including application forms for security clearances.

White House National Security advisor John Bolton recently told reporters he believed Beijing was behind the OPM hack, a claim first made by the United States in 2015.

Beijing has strongly denied those charges and also refuted charges that it was behind other hacks.

Former senior FBI official Robert Anderson told Reuters that the Marriott case looked similar to hacks that the Chinese government was conducting in 2014 as part of its intelligence operations.

“Think of the depth of knowledge they could now have about travel habits or who happened to be in a certain city at the same time as another person,” said Anderson, who served as FBI executive assistant director until 2015.

“It fits with how the Chinese intelligence services think about things. It’s all very long range,” said Anderson, who was not involved in investigating the Marriott case and is now a principal with Chertoff Group.

Michael Sussmann, a former senior Department of Justice official for its computer crimes section, said that the long duration of the campaign was an indicator that the hackers were seeking data for intelligence and not information to use in cyber crime schemes.

“One clue pointing to a government attacker is the amount of time the intruders were working quietly inside the network,” he said. “Patience is a virtue for spies, but not for criminals trying to steal credit card numbers.”

FBI representatives could not immediately be reached for comment on the evidence linking the attack to China. A spokesperson said on Friday that the agency was looking into the attack, but declined to elaborate.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Congress Approaches Potential Allies Amid Madhya Pradesh Tussle, Says Report


The Congress is leading in 115 seats in the assembly and the BJP in 105, according to the latest trends

Bhopal: 

In hopes of a victory over the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party based on trends for the 230 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress party has begun contacting leaders of other parties and the independents for mustering a simple majority, party sources said on Tuesday.

Congress leaders have contacted the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GGP) and independents who are leading, the sources said.

The Congress is leading in 115 seats and the BJP in 105, according to the latest trends.

Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath and the party’s campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia have contacted potential allies, the sources said. Mr Nath was in contact with BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, besides leaders of Gondwana Ganatantra Party whose candidate is leading in one place.

The BSP is leading in four places while the SP is ahead in two constituencies.

Mayawati had snubbed the Congress party’s overture for alliance in the state ahead of the elections.

Mr Scindia has contacted the independent candidates who are leading in the vote count, said sources.

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Donald Trump Worried About Impeachment, Thinks Its Real Possibility, Says Report


Democrats suggest Trump broke law during the 2016 election and could be jailed when his term is over.

Washington: 

US President Donald Trump has expressed concern that he could be impeached when Democrats take over the House and saw it as a “real possibility”, a source close to him told CNN.

But Trump isn’t certain it would happen, the source said on Monday night.

A separate source close to the White House told CNN that aides inside the West Wing believe “the only issue that may stick” in the impeachment process is the campaign finance violations tied to the President’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s payouts to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, both women have alleged to have affairs with Trump.

Impeachment talk has ratcheted up in recent days following a blockbuster filing from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

In the filing, prosecutors directly alleged for the first time that Cohen was being directed by Trump when he broke the law during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Democrats were suggesting that Trump committed an impeachable offence and could be sent to prison when his term in the White House is over.

The incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerry Nadler, said on Sunday the allegations, if proven, would constitute “impeachable offences”.

Democratic Senato Chris Coons said earlier on Monday that Trump could be indicted after he leaves office.

White House officials, at the moment, still do not believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion will result in impeachment.

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Indian Social Worker Sandeep Vellaloor, 35, Allegedly Hangs Himself At Home In UAE: Report


Sandeep Vellaloor was a prominent social worker.

Dubai: 

A 35-year-old prominent Indian social worker in the UAE has allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in his apartment, a media report has said.

Sandeep Vellaloor, a staff surveyor in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) emirate, suffered a huge financial loss after setting up a transport company, which is believed to have prompted him to hang himself, Khaleej Times reported on Sunday.

The father of three was a prominent social worker. His two roommates were not at home when he apparently committed suicide, it said.

Police have started an investigation into the incident, the report said.

“After coming back from work, they found the door locked from inside, and had to break open the lock to get in. To their shock, they found him hanging from the ceiling,” said Prasad Sreedharan, a social worker affiliated with a medical committee recently constituted by the Consulate General of India in Dubai.

Vellaloor was the general secretary of Yulan Kala Sahiti and team leader of the Friends Cricket Association.

“He regularly organised blood donation camps in RAK. The Ministry of Health and Prevention had honoured him in 2016 with a certificate of appreciation and memento for the humanitarian act,” Sreedharan said.

“He contributed Rs 400,000 to the family of an Indian worker who was paralysed and then died in a road accident here in RAK in 2017,” he said.

Vellaloor sent his family to India three years ago and was staying with two of his friends in a villa behind the RAK immigration department.

His body has been shifted to the morgue at the Ibrahim Bin Obaidulla Hospital and the repatriation process will be initiated shortly, said Nisham Noorudheen, president RAK Indian Relief Committee (IRC).

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Indian Diplomat Exits SAARC Meet Over Presence Of PoK ‘Minister’: Report


In 2016, India had pulled out of SAARC summit in Pak after the terrorist attack in Uri.

Islamabad: 

An official of the Indian High Commission in Pakistan staged a walkout of a SAARC meeting over the presence of a ‘minister’ from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) at the event, news agency PTI said, quoting a source.

Diplomat Shubham Singh, left the meeting to register India’s protest over the presence of PoK ‘minister’ Chaudhary Muhammad Saeed at the SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry meeting on the SAARC Charter Day in Islamabad on Sunday.

India considers Kashmir as its integral part and does not recognise any minister for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

In 2016, India had pulled out of the 19th SAARC summit that was to be held in Islamabad after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri.

The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to attend. No SAARC meeting has happened ever since.

India called off the foreign minister-level talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September after the brutal killing of policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and the release of a postage stamp by Pakistan that glorified Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani.

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Realme Phones to Get Android Pie Update in Q1 2019, Some Realme 2 Pro Users Report Battery Drain Issue


Realme Phones to Get Android Pie Update in Q1 2019, Some Realme 2 Pro Users Report Battery Drain Issue

Realme 2 Pro was launched in India in September

Last month, Realme Mobiles confirmed that its Realme 1 and Realme 2 devices will receive Android Pie update soon. Now, the company’s customer support handle has confirmed that all the smartphones launched up to date will also receive the Android Pie update soon. The timeline for the Pie update is set to be Q1 2019, and the latest announcement confirms that the Realme 2 Pro, Realme C1, and Realme U1 will also receive the Android Pie update next year. Furthermore, several Realme 2 Pro users are reporting of battery drain issue after last update.

The Realme India Support handle has confirmed in a reply tweet that all Realme phones launched up to date will receive Android Pie update in Q1 or Q2 2019. This comes after it earlier confirmed that the Realme 2 and Realme 1 will receive Android Pie update soon. The remaining devices which are the Realme 2 Pro, Realme C1, and Realme U1 will also receive the Android Pie update as well. The update should roll out to all these above-mentioned phones in either Q1 or Q2 of 2019. It has also confirmed that the Realme 2 Pro will receive slow-motion video recording with the update next year.

Talking about ColorOS 5.2, the company has also confirmed in a reply tweet that the Realme 2 will get the update by the end of this month. To recall, the Realme 1 already started receiving ColorOS 5.2 last month, and now the Realme 2 will also receive it by the end of December. This was also confirmed by the company via a reply tweet through its official customer support handle. There’s no confirmation from the company’s end though.

Furthermore, ever since the last November security patch, several Realme 2 Pro users have been experiencing battery drain problems, and have taken to Twitter to report the issue. While the company claims to have rolled out an update to fix the problem, several users are still reporting issues. The issue seems to stem from the TouchPal keyboard, causing the battery to drain real fast. Uninstalling the app could be a workaround, but Realme Mobiles may possibly fix the issue with the December security patch.





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“I Can’t Breathe” Were Khashoggi’s Final Words, Report Says


Saudi Arabia holds that Jamal Khashoggi’s killing was a “rogue” operation gone wrong

WASHINGTON: 

Jamal Khashoggi’s final words were “I can’t breathe,” CNN said Sunday, citing a source who has read the transcript of an audio tape of the final moments before the journalist’s murder.

The source told the US network the transcript made clear the killing was premeditated, and suggests several phone calls were made to give briefings on the progress.

CNN said Turkish officials believe those calls were made to top officials in Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The transcript of the gruesome recording includes descriptions of Khashoggi struggling against his murderers, CNN said, and references sounds of the dissident journalist’s body “being dismembered by a saw.”

The original transcript was prepared by Turkish intelligence services, and CNN said its source read a translation version and was briefed on the probe into the journalist’s death.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Sunday meanwhile rejected demands to extradite suspects connected to the murder of Khashoggi as sought by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has repeatedly called on Saudi Arabia to hand over suspects in the killing. According to Turkey, a 15-member Saudi team was sent to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia, however, holds that it was a “rogue” operation gone wrong — a claim undercut by the reported transcript.

For his part US President Donald Trump has refrained from blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, even though the CIA reportedly concluded that he ordered the assassination.

The murder has damaged Riyadh’s international reputation and Western countries including the United States, France and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Caesarian Deliveries To Be Performed By Robots Soon: Report


The robots are expected to conduct vaginal, bowel, heart and lung surgeries (Representational)

London: 

Robotics are expected to become so sophisticated, hospitals may not need surgeons. Controlled by healthcare assistants, the machines will soon be delivering babies by carrying out C-sections as well as other surgeries, say experts.

The predictions are based on the report by the “Commission on the Future of Surgery” set up by the Royal College of Surgeons in 2017, the Daily Mail reported.

According to the report, the robots controlled by healthcare assistants such as technicians are expected to conduct vaginal surgeries and operations on the bowel, heart and lungs.

This will help advance diagnoses of illnesses like cancer before they destroy organs and, as a result, operations will be smaller in scale and less traumatic.

Even healthcare assistants — who do not need any formal qualifications to get a job — could one day be trained to perform C-sections with the robots, The Telegraph reported.

Specialists and surgeons will remain in charge of operations but may not always need to be in the room.

“This is always going to be under the watchful eye and careful supervision of a surgeon,” Richard Kerr, neurosurgeon at the Oxford University and Chair of the commission, was quoted as saying.

“These are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure.

“The changes are expected to affect every type of operation. This will be a watershed moment in surgery,” Mr Kerr said.

While some applications of robots and DNA-based medicines are expected to happen sooner than others, those with healthcare assistant-led C-sections is possible within five years, the report said.

However, the experts warn that the use of robots in surgery could be controversial. This is in light of an investigation which revealed that a 69-year-old man in Newcastle died when a robot was used to carry out his heart surgery in 2015.

The commission’s report also claims that major cancer operations could become a thing of past because screening DNA will pick up diseases earlier, before they ravage the body.

Similarly, people with severe forms of arthritis could be identified early on and faster treatment might reduce the need for major hip and knee replacement ops.

“These big, set-piece operations will become less common as we are able to intervene earlier and use more moderate interventions,” said Professor Dion Mortonm, a member of the commission.

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